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March 7, 2024 40 mins

Nobody Likes Babies, originally meant to be the season finale, was a turning point for the show – There’s no going back after the events in this episode, with Fitz’ dramatic choice. Katie and Guillermo unpack the twists and turns with the esteemed Debra Mooney, AKA Supreme Court Justice Verna Thornton, including diving into Debra’s acting history and what she was really doing in the coffin during her final scene… Plus, are Katie and Guillermo officially getting old (and sleepy)?

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Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:00):
Unpacking the Toolbox is a production of Shondaland Audio in
partnership with Iheartradiots. As Katie, I feel like we say

(00:33):
this every single time we do a podcast, but it's
it's true, Like sincerely this episode, Like I was sobbing
last night watching you were. Yeah, Like I watched it
twice and real times I was sobbing.

Speaker 2 (00:47):
Wait, I'm trying to remember. I watched it last night too,
and now I'm like, guys, when you're old and you
fall asleep, I can't remember what I did last night,
and I was sober. I watched it completely sober. We
always had a TV in our train at Scandals, right,
mm hm? I never turned mine on, Gimi Camber never,
and you are such a like you need to have

(01:08):
something in the background. I feel like, so you had
always I Love Lucy one or maybe like twilight Zone?
Am I making that up?

Speaker 1 (01:17):
No, you're right, that's exactly right. I would watch Twilight Zone,
I would watch I Love Lucy, I would watch horror films.
I'd bring DVDs, remember DVDs and CDs.

Speaker 2 (01:28):
The other thing that must be noted about your trailer,
which was so cool. Not only did you always have
twilight Zone or I love Lucy On. But you always
had like a fucking cool ass lamp with like a
blanket over it or something, so it was very lighty.

Speaker 1 (01:46):
Didn't you remember that? Yes?

Speaker 2 (01:48):
So your trailer always had like amazing sort of mood lighting, Like,
regardless of the day, it was very Giermo, are you
affected by light? Are you like a light person? Are
you like it needs to be dim?

Speaker 1 (02:00):
Yeah, it needs to be dim. It needs to be
like a sort of an amber tone, like a reddish tone.

Speaker 2 (02:06):
God, you must have walked into them, because the makeup
trailer couldn't be Oh god, you're polar opposite of that.
I mean, when you walk into a fucking hair and
makeup trailer, it is like landing on the sun at
an airport.

Speaker 1 (02:17):
Yeah.

Speaker 2 (02:18):
I mean it's supposed to be all this great mirror
lighting so that they can really do a good job
doing your makeup. But I always felt like the lighting
was so aggressive.

Speaker 1 (02:26):
It's so aggressive, so hostile. So wait, what did you
do last night?

Speaker 2 (02:30):
Okay? Last night was one of these insanely stupid and
annoying but also kind of fun mom situations where we
had a four pm birthday party at Skyzone trampoline part shit,
And I took both my kids by myself to an
indoor trampoline park where you're just bouncing and peeing everywhere

(02:50):
because I've had two children.

Speaker 1 (02:51):
Wait, did you get in the trampoline as well? Oh?

Speaker 2 (02:55):
Hell yeah, I fucking jump all over that shit. I'm like,
let's go. I put on an extra special bra for
it so that I wasn't scaring the peoples, and then
I only pete a little bit, which was a huge
win because I used to do once you've had two children,
all of you mommy gladiators who are out there listening
two vaginal birds means that.

Speaker 1 (03:16):
They're like it's hard to control.

Speaker 2 (03:18):
Yes, that there's there's been some blowouts that have happened
down there, and you better be working them keygels and
all that to hold in the pps. But it was
lovely and the kids had the best time ever. And
you know what was cute. The girl whose birthday it
was is seven, and she's a tough little cookie, like
she likes to battle and fight and she does Pokemon

(03:40):
battles with my son. They're like Archie is v Star
blast in your face like and they're just like crazy
battling and Albi said to me on the way home, Mommy,
I think I know who I want to marry, which, like,
where does he get this shit? Like, I don't talk
to him about marriage. This must be in fucking Disney
movies or some shit. But he's just like, I want

(04:01):
to marry Charlie. She's so cute and so beautiful and
she's seven and she's tough as fucking nails. But I'm
not so convinced that Charlie will like boys. I don't know. Yeah,
we've already discovered that my son he likes the ladies. Yeah,
And it's funny when women are running by in sports bras.

Speaker 1 (04:25):
Is he like, uh do his eyes pop out like
in the cartoons? Oh?

Speaker 2 (04:28):
Yeah, He's like, Mommy, mommy, what's that?

Speaker 3 (04:30):
Like?

Speaker 2 (04:30):
Why don't they have clothes on? Like, mommy, what are
they wearing?

Speaker 1 (04:33):
Like?

Speaker 2 (04:33):
What is that?

Speaker 1 (04:33):
Like?

Speaker 2 (04:33):
He's into it, and I'm like one time we were
at a wine tasting and there was like a very
like a woman there wearing a very risque thing. She
was hot a shit, and she had long blonde hair.
And my son was like, I'd like to go play
with her.

Speaker 1 (04:47):
Oh no, he didn't.

Speaker 2 (04:49):
Oh yeah, And I'm like, fucking shit, he's totally straight.

Speaker 1 (04:53):
I love him.

Speaker 2 (04:55):
I mean, did you know that you loved the little
I mean when did you know?

Speaker 1 (04:59):
Yeah, Katie Will that's I was going to say earlier
I was in kindergarten. I remember being in kindergarten even
before that and being like attracted to other little boys,
like you know, like whatever age a straight person knew,
like whatever age you were, if it was, you know,
five or seven, that's the same thing for a gay person.
You know what I mean.

Speaker 2 (05:17):
And you can see it, like I mean, obviously he's
already making comments like I want to marry this girl,
so he doesn't understand like, oh, I'm having like feelings feeling,
but he one hundred percent is this episode, we may
or may not have an incredible guest and this person

(05:39):
little tidbit fun fact I've worked with twice.

Speaker 1 (05:42):
Oh, I was going to ask you about that because
I found that when I did my research.

Speaker 2 (05:45):
She's fucking unbelievable and she may or may not be
part of our scandal body count unfortunately. Rip. Yeah, and
she's got one of the fucking coolest voices I have
ever heard.

Speaker 1 (06:03):
Yes, it just rumbles. Yeah, I love it. It's so good,
it's so powerful.

Speaker 2 (06:08):
We're gonna have to ask this person. Is it because
they smoked a lot as.

Speaker 1 (06:14):
A young man or is that just the way it's
always been? Yeah, I don't know, who knows. I've always
been jealous of raspy voices like that, me too, Like
special voices like Daphanie Rubin Vega has a very specific,
like special.

Speaker 2 (06:28):
Voice ability to just really grumble. Well, this actress has
it ten millionfold. She is so like but she's like
I boughta and I this episode she absolutely kills And
she was part of the Scandal family. Was she in
season one too?

Speaker 1 (06:48):
Whenever we see the like Mellie and Olivia, the Goons,
the Goons, Yeah, plant doing the whole cytron hardly.

Speaker 2 (06:55):
Wing rigging, but we're talking about the one, the only Yeah,
we got her in the toolbox.

Speaker 1 (07:09):
Deborah Mooney has been in a lot of iconic shows
and movies like yes, I mean, you can't even imagine.
She was in a movie, one of my favorite movies
called Tutsie. Do you remember the Tootsie with Dustin Hoffman?

Speaker 2 (07:23):
Hoffman a fucking classic? Who did she play in Tutsi?

Speaker 3 (07:27):
Is?

Speaker 1 (07:27):
She played a character named missus Mallory. You have to
go back and watch it. It's it's Dustin Hoffman is
brilliant in that film. I mean, Terry Garr. Deborah Mooney
is in it. And she was also in Dead Poet
Society with Robin williamses.

Speaker 2 (07:42):
No, and we need to ask her about it. Also,
Deborah Mooney so fucking pretty.

Speaker 1 (07:49):
Yeah, she's beautiful.

Speaker 2 (07:50):
Yeah, I can't even when she dies ri ip Verna,
she is laying back in her casket.

Speaker 1 (07:57):
I was like, my gorgeous.

Speaker 2 (07:59):
Yeah, this woman is fucking gorgeous, her hair, her eye color.
And then she's got that rumbly ass voice. Deborah Mooney.

Speaker 1 (08:12):
You guys, I Verna.

Speaker 2 (08:15):
That voice, that face, our one and only.

Speaker 3 (08:19):
Verna Thornton, Verna Thornton.

Speaker 2 (08:22):
And we have just gotten to the episode where Verna,
so sadly and so horrifically is murdered by the hands
of the president himself.

Speaker 3 (08:32):
Oh with a thought.

Speaker 1 (08:34):
I mean really, yes.

Speaker 2 (08:37):
Verna, can you take us through? Do you remember how
you got the part?

Speaker 3 (08:42):
No? I think they just called me and that's me by.

Speaker 2 (08:46):
So it was just a straight offer.

Speaker 1 (08:48):
Yeah, I believe so well. I mean, Deborah, you've done
like a million and ten things. You were in Seinfeld,
you were in you did an episode of Ellen, you
were in Domestic disturb Vince Will and Grace, Anastasia Touched
by an Angel? Like, I could go on and on
and on.

Speaker 3 (09:06):
I know.

Speaker 2 (09:06):
Did you always want to be an actor?

Speaker 3 (09:09):
Yeah? I think so. Isn't it funny? I mean I
grew up in a teen ninety town in North Dakota.
I am the only one that became an actor.

Speaker 2 (09:22):
How did you get the idea?

Speaker 3 (09:23):
Like?

Speaker 2 (09:23):
Were you acting as a little kid?

Speaker 3 (09:25):
That's what I wonder sometimes because as a little kid,
I mean I used to perform for the neighbors. They
had an entrance to their living room was a double door,
you know, so that was my stage and they all
sat on the couch and I held the dog and
saying how much is that doggie in the window?

Speaker 1 (09:46):
Oh?

Speaker 2 (09:48):
Funny?

Speaker 3 (09:49):
And they loved it.

Speaker 1 (09:51):
Did your parents always encourage you to continue like performing?

Speaker 3 (09:54):
No? No, I don't think they thought I was going
to be an actress at all. Really, No, that was
just something you know, Oh my god, sounds like you've
got a air ball. Sorry, wouldn't you know?

Speaker 2 (10:05):
Oh, we'll take the cat with the hairball. We love
real life stuff. Deborah Moody, How did you find yourself
in Los Angeles? Or did you?

Speaker 3 (10:13):
I came out here to see my daughter. I was
acting in New York. I went to the University of
Minnesota and got an MFA in acting. And my mentor
there was Charles Nolty. He directed a production of Streetcar,
and Tennessee came to see it.

Speaker 1 (10:32):
What were you in this production, Debora? You were in
the production?

Speaker 3 (10:36):
I was Blanche. Oh my god, I've been playing Blanche.
Tennessee came to see it and decided I was his
favorite Blanche to walk?

Speaker 1 (10:45):
Are you kidding me? Oh my god?

Speaker 3 (10:47):
I am Did you never hear that story? I never
told you even No.

Speaker 1 (10:53):
I am obsessed with street Car name desire, and so he.

Speaker 3 (10:56):
Wrote about me in the New York Times. You can
look up Wow. I think if you google Deborah Mooney
Tennessee Williams in New York Times, it will come up.

Speaker 1 (11:05):
I'm gonna do that.

Speaker 2 (11:07):
Oh, Michael, I have the article right now. We're going
to need to link to it when this episode comes out.
March fourth, nineteen seventy three.

Speaker 3 (11:16):
Well, we don't need to say that, do we.

Speaker 2 (11:21):
I mean, this is unbelievable.

Speaker 1 (11:23):
This is so what an iconic role.

Speaker 2 (11:28):
Stella a star like.

Speaker 1 (11:30):
Star god.

Speaker 2 (11:32):
I can't what I would have paid to see you
do that part, I'm sure. I'm just so impressed at
the longevity of the life of an actor, you know,
when you when we get to be around somebody who
has worked in theater, television, film for decades, and a
lot of people don't get that, like a lot of you.

(11:53):
I know, it does, sadly for whatever reason, either dry
up or they make a different choice or whatever it is.
But it's so impressive. How did you come into the
Shondaland family? Was your first Well?

Speaker 3 (12:10):
I think Shonda must have liked ever would because so
many of us have been called.

Speaker 2 (12:17):
Yeah, it's Tom Amandy's right, Tom Amandy's who plays Governor
rest in April. Sarah Drew was a lead doctor on
his An Enemy for years.

Speaker 3 (12:28):
Yeah. I think if Shonda says that's what I want.

Speaker 1 (12:31):
I think, Yeah, that's what I think.

Speaker 3 (12:33):
They just call you. I don't think, yeah, you audition.

Speaker 1 (12:37):
You are just a marvel in this role. And it's
such a you know, we've been watching all these episodes
back Katie and I to do this podcast, and it's
just it's such a pleasure watching you work. It is
so entertaining and so satisfying. You're so remarkable in this role.
You're just so so good, Deborah so good. Oh did
you know when you got the role that it was

(12:59):
going to be an arc?

Speaker 3 (13:01):
No, I did not know that. I didn't have any
idea what it was going to be.

Speaker 1 (13:06):
You know, we'll be right back. Guys.

Speaker 2 (13:12):
How do you have the most I want to know,
iconic voice? Were you always raspy or is it from
just years of theater and smoking at the equity breaks?

Speaker 3 (13:25):
I was saying tenor in high school?

Speaker 2 (13:27):
So you've always had a low voice.

Speaker 3 (13:30):
I've always had a low voice. Yeah. In the choir,
it was I was in the tenor section, you know,
I got to be with the boys.

Speaker 1 (13:37):
Yeah.

Speaker 2 (13:40):
And I've been lucky enough to work with you twice
because you also played the judge in Inventing Anna correct
And I was so grateful to you because in Rachel
Deloche Williams scenes that we got to do, which was
the week before shutdown in twenty twenty, that's right, I
had to be on the stand on crying and crying

(14:02):
and crying and crying, and I just had, like Deborah
Mooney right to my left with her gavel and her
judge's gown, just holding down the court. But my god, Shonda,
and rightfully so. I mean, she loves you. You are
a staple in the Shondaland family.

Speaker 3 (14:22):
Well, I love working for her and with her. I
think she is so remarkable. I think of her all
the time, and I think how many people she gives
work to A lot. She's amazing.

Speaker 1 (14:38):
Yeah, And she's super loyal to the people that she's
worked with, and she you know, respects their work and
their work ethic, and she brings them back, she keeps
them in her in her world, in her circle.

Speaker 3 (14:48):
My late husband was a producer of theater of the
spoken word, and what he loved was companies, building a company.
And so to me, Shonda was a perfect, perfect follow
up what I'd been in with circle rep and having
a company.

Speaker 2 (15:07):
You know, Yeah, did it feel so like theater to
you when you came on the set of Scandal you
knew the scandal pace and having to be word perfect
and say things very fast? Did it feel like all
of your theater training you called upon that a lot.

Speaker 3 (15:23):
I guess, I mean it just seemed that's that's the
style of this show. That's what we do. You know, Yeah,
you have to be careful you're not playing the style
rather than the show. Do you know what I'm saying.
If you're doing a farce, you're still that character and
you still want to play the role, not the farce.
Do you know what I'm saying? Right right? The character

(15:46):
is what's important totally.

Speaker 2 (15:48):
How did it feel when you found out as scripts
kept coming, were you so like, oh my god, this
is what I'm doing, Like we rigged an election, I'm
nominated to the Supreme Court? Were you just flabbergasted at
your storyline?

Speaker 3 (16:05):
There was an episode in her office, in her boardroom.
I kind of thought, whoa, I think maybe I have
something to do with all this, you know, maybe I'm
maybe I'm the one.

Speaker 2 (16:20):
You know, you started to think, oh shit, is Verna
the person who who is responsible for hiring Becky to
assassinate the president?

Speaker 3 (16:32):
Yes? Yes, Verna really so juicy?

Speaker 2 (16:39):
How did they fit your glorious hair underneath the bald
cap and get it to look so good.

Speaker 3 (16:50):
The first time? It took six hours?

Speaker 1 (16:52):
What? Oh yeah, I.

Speaker 3 (16:55):
Went there at like three years in the morning. What
they got it down to like four?

Speaker 1 (17:02):
Did that help you get into character even more Debora
being having that bald head and just everything that she
was going through and having your you had your oxygen
mask and the tubes, like I'm sure all of that
sort of helped.

Speaker 3 (17:15):
Yeah, it certainly made me feel kind of frail. Do
you know what I mean?

Speaker 1 (17:20):
Mm hm, I mean watching you take breaths from that
oxygen mask. It's just it's heartbreaking. In this particular episode
that we're talking about.

Speaker 2 (17:27):
Today, vice versa. The other side of Verna Thornton too,
I mean, I love that we're watching a woman who
is deteriorating in front of our very eyes. You have
a very terminal illness that is taking over quick you know.
We see the flashbacks to the scenes where you tell
your doctor, I I'm being put on the bench tomorrow

(17:49):
and how long do I have and he says a year,
maybe two, And we watch this all happen so quickly.
But the other side of it is how amazing Verna
Thornton looked in all of her suits and your hair
all blown out, when you're like sitting at the table
in Air Force one and you all are making the

(18:09):
decision to rig the election, You and Hollis and Mellie
and Olivia, how powerful she was and how like strong,
I'm ready to do a deal with the devil to
get my seat. You know that that was the most
important thing for your career to culminate into a Supreme
Court justice.

Speaker 3 (18:29):
I just loved playing Erna Thornton, I really did. I
was so sorry when she got when she was gonna
get killed off because that, Yeah, I just hated the loser.
But it was quite spectacular depth too, so.

Speaker 2 (18:44):
It was a great death and a great run.

Speaker 1 (18:45):
Do you remember all of us hanging out at Jeff
Perry and Linda Lowe's house watched.

Speaker 3 (18:51):
I went to one of them and then I thought,
I don't think I can watch that with other people.
I think I better watch it.

Speaker 1 (18:57):
Yeah, yeah, I remember the one that you were. We
had such a great time, but I remember you and
all of us being so sad and so emotional that
you were going to be you know that your character
was being killed off in the in the next episode.
Do you remember that? And we were all like, yeah,
but it was such a wonderful like gathering. We all
got to spend time together and it was just.

Speaker 3 (19:17):
Like, yeah, it wasn't it wasn't it?

Speaker 1 (19:19):
Yeah.

Speaker 3 (19:20):
Oh, it was just it was such a pleasant group
of people to be with, wasn't it.

Speaker 2 (19:25):
It was a great troop. It was a great real
lot of theater actors.

Speaker 1 (19:31):
Yeah.

Speaker 3 (19:31):
Well, and it was a kind of special time. I
thought it was a special time in the second season
because I was new to it the second season, but
the other people that had been working together were beginning
to know each other, and there were those of us
that were coming in for the first time in this season,
and so it was still biting its way, and yet

(19:54):
there was enough of having known each other that there
was this solidity about it.

Speaker 1 (20:00):
Mm hmm.

Speaker 3 (20:01):
I just think it's a real special time when you
get to do not the first maybe, but early on
in the theory.

Speaker 2 (20:08):
Yes, and the show was getting successful like the second Yeah,
like you.

Speaker 3 (20:12):
Said, it was, it was a very exciting time.

Speaker 1 (20:15):
I thought it was.

Speaker 2 (20:16):
Yeah, it totally was.

Speaker 1 (20:18):
Had you watched the show before you were casting it?

Speaker 3 (20:21):
No, I hadn't seen it. I don't watch a lot
of television. I was busy doing it, you know what
I mean?

Speaker 1 (20:27):
Yeah, exactly working.

Speaker 3 (20:29):
Because that was a real busy time.

Speaker 1 (20:31):
I think sometimes when I've done TV shows that I
haven't watched my work is better because if I've seen
the show, then I get sort of, you know.

Speaker 2 (20:39):
An idea of what it's supposed to be.

Speaker 1 (20:41):
Yeah, especially if I like the If I end up
loving the show, then I have this I put this
pressure on myself, so I like when I haven't seen it,
and then I, you know, jump in and do my
work and do my best.

Speaker 3 (20:52):
Yeah. Yeah. And like part of a response to your
question about getting into the speed and everything like that,
I wasn't worried about intimidated or anything because I didn't
know that that's what happened.

Speaker 1 (21:06):
Right right, you were just paced up already.

Speaker 3 (21:09):
Oh I'm gonna have to be real FASTO. Yeah, I
didn't know.

Speaker 2 (21:16):
We are so lucky to have Verna Thornton, the one
and only Deberny. On today's episode, we are talking about
episode two thirteen, which was called Nobody Likes Babies, and
it aired on February seventh of twenty thirteen, and.

Speaker 1 (21:32):
It was written by Mark Wilding and directed by the
Tom Verica.

Speaker 2 (21:37):
Oh my goodness, I had no idea Tom Verica directed
this episode. It is guest starring Deborah Mooney as Verna Thornton,
Susan poorfar as Becky Flynn. Dan Mugatinski is James Novak,
George Newburn is Charlie, Greg Henry is Hollis Doyle.

Speaker 1 (21:51):
Norm Lewis is Senator Edison Davis, Brenda Song as Alyssa,
Sam McMurray as a US attorney, Pat Wexler Samantha Sloy
and his Janie, and Colin Douglas as Steve Dougherty.

Speaker 2 (22:02):
And just to jog you all about what happens. And
then we got to talk to our very own Verna
Thornton before she leaves the show about her epic epic
death and destruction and how she does gone crazy on
this plot line. Synopsis for this episode. When the truth
comes out that Verna was the one who hired Becky, Olivia,
still reeling from the betrayal, rallies the team to steal

(22:24):
David Rosen's evidence in the looming defiance case.

Speaker 1 (22:27):
The pressures on is Verna dies suddenly and James is
subpoena to appear in court. In two last ditch efforts,
Abby professes her love to David, and Cyrus considers having
James murdered before he can testify. Fortunately, James lies on
the stand and Abby manages to steal the defiance evidence,
even if it costs her the relationship with David.

Speaker 2 (22:46):
Then, during Verna's funeral, Fits ices out Olivia as we
learn what really happened in the hospital, Verna confessed about
defiance and Fitz killed her to prevent her from going public.
This episode is so freaking epic.

Speaker 1 (23:03):
It's beyond the fact that the that we see fits
the president kill another character on the show was just
mind blowing. It's one of the first times that I thought, Okay,
this show, it's a whole thing on its own, Like
it's it takes risk, and Seana is not afraid to
go there. Like I was completely floored when this happened,

(23:25):
Like when I read this.

Speaker 2 (23:26):
Right, Deborah, do you remember shooting the scenes in this
episode that you had when you are your character has
called in David Rosen to tell him that the election
was rigged, But first your character calls in the president
because you said you wanted him to hear it from

(23:47):
Verna first, Right, What the hell was that like?

Speaker 1 (23:52):
To shoot?

Speaker 3 (23:53):
Well, it was pretty incredible. I mean it all felt
very real that she would have the ancience way on
her and would decide to come clean, and that she
would let him. Know first, it makes sense to me.

Speaker 1 (24:09):
How is it working with Tony Goldwyn? Was that a thrill?

Speaker 3 (24:12):
I loved it? I just loved Tony. I mean, oh,
can you believe me? Up and kills me?

Speaker 2 (24:17):
I mean, and he holds your arms down. It's so awful.

Speaker 3 (24:23):
I helpe get him elected.

Speaker 2 (24:25):
I mean, come, yes, yes, ingrate, ingrate, Yeah, but then
you did try to get him assassinated?

Speaker 3 (24:31):
Is that? Well? You know?

Speaker 2 (24:35):
This episode is so full. I mean, besides the incredible
Verna stuff, this episode also has in it this huge epic.
One of my favorite all time scandal scenes of all
time is a scene between Dan Bugatinski and Jeff Perry
and they both have this huge argument where James is

(24:57):
asking Cyrus, did you rig the election? I've been subpoena
and I'm supposed to testify and I need to know
did you or didn't you? And Cyrus says, take off
all your clothes? How am I supposed to know? If
you don't, if you're not bugged, if you don't have
a MIC on you.

Speaker 1 (25:11):
Which Katie you noticed. He says, take off your clothes,
which is a throwback to when Fitz says to Olivia,
take off your clothes, but obviously this is a completely
different context, and.

Speaker 2 (25:20):
So James takes off all of his clothes and then
he says, you take off your clothes like I don't
know if you're miked, And so they have this epically long,
five minute, twelve page one act that they're both naked,
where Cyrus admits and says, I was never going to
be president. I'm not pretty enough, I like boys, I'm sure,

(25:44):
and I don't have the right things to make up
of a president. But this is the closest I was
ever going to get that I could be the second best,
that I would be able to sway some things in
the White House, that I would be the chief of staff.
And so I did. I stole the election. It's an
amazing scene and so beautifully acted by both actors and

(26:08):
one of my all time favorite favorite favorite acting scenes.

Speaker 1 (26:13):
Oh same, another super super like epic scenes was a
scene where that you have with Olivia with Kerrie Washington, Deborah,
how was it? How was it working with Carrie? Had
you met Carrie before?

Speaker 3 (26:24):
No? I just loved her.

Speaker 1 (26:26):
Oh, you two had a chemistry and the relationship between Olivia.

Speaker 3 (26:31):
Did did I did? I really just adored her? From
the time I met her. She's some the beautiful woman
you know.

Speaker 2 (26:40):
Yes, but the history, you too, created this incredible history.

Speaker 1 (26:44):
It was effortless.

Speaker 2 (26:45):
It seemed like you two had been in each other's
corners for a long time. Yeah, the hell out of
each other for a long time. Like even in the
beginning of this season, no one else knows that Vernon
Thornton's sick, and Pope is the only one that comes
and like sits with you in the hospital while you're
getting your chemo treatment, and she turns off her phone,

(27:07):
which she never does. And there are so many times
where Verna gives Olivia Pope advice about like that she
listened to you, Olivia listened to you.

Speaker 1 (27:20):
But this scene, in this scene in particular, when she
goes to confront you about because she figures out with
Opa that you have paid Becky to assassinate the president,
that scene is just so powerful. But then we also
learned that Verna was doing it ultimately for the good
of the country, do you know what I mean? She's like, well,
if I killed him, then the country will then re

(27:43):
elect a president that will will be rightly you know, elected,
just exactly. So of course she decided to kill the president,
but she was doing it for the good of the country.
Such a powerful scene. And when Olivia's hearing you say
those things, and at the end you say something to her,
you say, chin up, Olivia. It's not like I'm getting
away with it, you know. Obviously she's on her way

(28:05):
out of this world. Oh it was just heartbreaking.

Speaker 2 (28:09):
Yeah, man, Deborah Mooney, you had us in the palm
of your hands. The other part of this episode, I
have to mention there's a few. There's the huge Cyrus
James naked fight, there's the presidential murder of Verna Thornton,
and then the third for me is that Abby played

(28:30):
by Darby Stansfield, goes and even though she's in love
with David Rosen, she says, I love you, has sex
with him, and when he leaves to go to the
court for the day, she does end up breaking into
his safe and stealing the only evidence he has that
the election was rigged. He has the Cytron card, and
he comes back to Opa at the end and says,

(28:52):
Abby Wheelin, you took the card. You took the card.
She's like, I did it, I did it, and he's like,
you tricked me. You said I loved you, and she
says I do. I do love you, David, and he
basically like, I'm never speaking to you again. I hate you.
He storms out, and Abby just starts breaking down and says, like,
I did it. I did get the card. And you
see that Abby chose to be a gladiator at Opa

(29:13):
versus being with the love of her life. She makes
a massive sacrifice to Olivia.

Speaker 3 (29:21):
They were good, strong stories, weren't they.

Speaker 2 (29:26):
Deborah. It's in like all the stuff we're talking about
happened in one.

Speaker 1 (29:32):
Episodes.

Speaker 2 (29:32):
Yeah, wow, we will be back with more after the break.

Speaker 1 (29:40):
Do you remember, Deborah in previous episodes where you give
Kate Burton's character Sally Langston Huck's name, saying that Huck
is the one that is responsible for killing the president.
Do you remember that? And then Huck gets waterboarded. I
was always so bummed that I didn't get to act
with you in I mean, we you know, our characters interacted.

Speaker 3 (30:02):
But I am too, I am too. I would have
loved that.

Speaker 2 (30:06):
When you shot your last take as Erna, what were
the feelings, what was the emotion?

Speaker 3 (30:14):
Well, there's certainly a sadness about the character, but there's
also I think I felt like it had been a
story well told. I enjoyed doing it. The scripts were good,
and there's such a satisfaction in getting to do something.

Speaker 1 (30:35):
Like that, and that it's gonna live on, right, I mean,
it's gonna live on forever.

Speaker 3 (30:40):
Yeah.

Speaker 1 (30:41):
Yeah. People are rewatching the show now on Hulu and
just sort of getting reintroduced, and some people are watching
it for the first time. So Verna's gonna live on forever. Verna.
How was it shooting that scene where you had to
be in the coffin? That was so unsettling.

Speaker 2 (30:57):
Because at the end of this episode, the very end
of the episode, Carrie comes in and says, I did it.
I've given Edison back the ring, I've called off the engage.
I don't want to be with him, and I will
wait for you. Fits. In the beginning of the episode,
Fitz says to Olivia, I'm leaving, Mellie. It might take

(31:17):
a minute, it might be dirty, but I'm done. Will
you wait for me? Will you wait for me? And
at the end of the episode, at your funeral, she
goes up to him and she says, I did it, Fits,
and I will I've decided like I will wait for you,
And Fitz says, now that he knows that you all
ring to the election, he says, never mind. No, It's

(31:38):
one thing to sleep with your mistress, is another thing
to marry her. He gives like a really low, horrible,
fucked up blow and Olivia's just devastated because she feels
so vulnerable and she finally made a choice. And then
he gets up and gives your eulogy. Oh, I know
which is over you in this casket, and you look
fierce as hell, like I was.

Speaker 1 (31:59):
Saying before you so beautiful.

Speaker 2 (32:01):
Yeah, your hair had the most glorious blowout. Your makeup
looked amazing. I don't know what glorious suit land Polo
put you in, but you looked incredible.

Speaker 3 (32:10):
I loved that suit that I wore, gorgeous.

Speaker 1 (32:13):
Did you get to keep anything from set?

Speaker 3 (32:15):
No, I didn't really. There was a black skirt that
I wore that I loved. I did go and find.

Speaker 1 (32:21):
It good good, good good. And so that scene where
we see Verna in the coffin is sort of we're
jumping from that scene to the president and then we
finally see that fits Fitz kills Verna, and we're going
back and forth from him talking to you and you
telling him that you guys read the election. And it's
so powerful because there he is giving your eulogy and

(32:43):
at the same time we're seeing him like murder you.

Speaker 2 (32:46):
He's just lying. He's saying like all these loving, funny,
no amazing things about verna.

Speaker 3 (32:52):
Oh. I thought that was a brilliant writing, really, because
his usualgy is so when you know the truth is
just so incredible that you could say those things.

Speaker 2 (33:04):
Yeah, did you ever fall asleep in the casket?

Speaker 3 (33:08):
No? I said, Now, it'll be half closed and half open.
Is that right, I asked before I went up there,
and they said yes, And I said, which half? Hey,
she's got great legs. No, So I knew I was
going to have some room, and I knew nobody's going

(33:28):
to be coming up and talking to me because they're
all out there and the casket was up on a thing,
so I'm not going to have any visitors. So I
took my crossword puzzle, my New York Times crossword puzzle
I took.

Speaker 4 (33:45):
I took all kinds of activities. I have an activity
bag that I take with me when I got work,
and I had lots of activities that I could choose from.

Speaker 3 (33:57):
In fact, the camera mat at one boy it said
something about have you had a hamburger in there? I said, yeah,
you want bus.

Speaker 2 (34:06):
That's so funny, Debora. So you could just hide it
in the casket, and.

Speaker 3 (34:10):
Yeah, I had also because I didn't want to, like
you said, I'm in a casket.

Speaker 1 (34:16):
No, yeah, you didn't want to think about it too much.

Speaker 3 (34:19):
Yeah, I mean Burnon isn't thinking about it.

Speaker 1 (34:22):
Right, Deborah. I do this thing on the podcast where
I'm obsessed with horror movies, and when I looked your
your work up, I saw that you did an episode
of Tales from the Crypt.

Speaker 3 (34:34):
Eh. Yes, I had a hatchet in my head.

Speaker 1 (34:37):
Oh my god. You played a character named Ellen and
Tails from the Crypt. It was one of my favorite shows.
It was like an anthology show.

Speaker 3 (34:44):
Do you remember that? Do you remember that show? Yes?

Speaker 1 (34:46):
Of course, do you remember that experience? What that was like?

Speaker 3 (34:50):
Oh gosh, yes. First of all, I'm a bit cluster phobe,
quite cluster phobic, and I had to go out to
this place I forget where it was a ways away,
and they cover you totally.

Speaker 1 (35:04):
To make a cast of your face, right.

Speaker 3 (35:07):
A cast of your face, so that they can bury
the hatchet as.

Speaker 1 (35:10):
It were exactly.

Speaker 3 (35:12):
Yeah. That really was terrifying. And so there was that
to deal with it. And then the day of my
parents were in town and they came with me and
they got me all into costume and and they got
the whole thing on with the hatchet, which was heavy.

Speaker 1 (35:31):
Yeah, right in your forehead. Yeah.

Speaker 3 (35:33):
And then they called lunch.

Speaker 1 (35:35):
No, Oh my god, I.

Speaker 3 (35:39):
Had to go across the street and eat at a
Chinese restaurant with a hatchet in my head and I
had to hold it like this because it was a heavy,
you know.

Speaker 2 (35:48):
Oh my god.

Speaker 3 (35:49):
I had to sit at the table and hold it
with my parents.

Speaker 1 (35:56):
Oh my god. I love that story.

Speaker 2 (36:00):
By Deborah. Okay, so a couple things. One, we got
a BodyCount edition Verna Thornton. We've had Gideon Wallace got
stabbed in the neck with scissors, Amanda Tanner was killed
via injection and then dropped in the Potomac, and now

(36:22):
Deborah Mooney was murdered by the President himself through I
guess asphyxiation. Yeah, so we are adding Verna Thornton as
our third member of the Scandal podcast body Count. And
another fun fact, this is why this episode is so incredible.
When Scandal was renewed for a second season, the network
ABC only ordered thirteen episodes. This episode was originally meant

(36:46):
to be the season finale, but after receiving high ratings
within the first few episodes of the season, ABC quickly
ordered a full twenty two episode season. Oh but this
episode feels like like anally.

Speaker 3 (37:02):
It does feels like I didn't know that.

Speaker 2 (37:06):
It feels like cliffhangers and wrapping up of intense things
and and it's jam packed and it's just amazing now
tweets at the time, tweets with the one I know
the demoney, Oh, we have a whole like thing going

(37:29):
on now, we're doing like picture me, like pictures of
Beyonce just saying Olivia girl, I need help. They saying
I lip synced. Oh, somebody at the time must have
been accusing Beyonce of lip singing, which I don't remember
what was happening either. There was a lot of obvious
problems at the time of this episode coming out that
Beyonce was being accused of lip singings. Oh, I think

(37:52):
the national anthem. If I heard.

Speaker 3 (37:55):
That, I was wondering. I think it might have been
the national anthem.

Speaker 2 (37:58):
Oh wow, And then a lot of people are tweeting
pictures in response that Olivia Pope is saying it's handled by.

Speaker 1 (38:06):
All to Beyonce and then thanks girl.

Speaker 2 (38:09):
At Maya La Shawn tweeted, am I the only woman
who does not watch scandal? Hashtag it won't be hashtag
guard your heart? Hashtag Olivia Pope is nothing like Judy Smith.

Speaker 1 (38:22):
But you're tweeting with us? Why are you tweeting with us?
Then listen? Can I just say real quick? If I
was tweeting right now during this time, I would have
tweeted that Deborah Mooney was in a production of Street
Carname Desires Blanche Dubois and Tennessee Williams was there in
person like my mind it.

Speaker 2 (38:38):
Said she was the greatest Blanche of all the bland.

Speaker 1 (38:42):
Yes, I'm going to go to bed with such a
huge smile on my face and just that makes me
so so happy. What an incredible experience it certainly was.

Speaker 2 (38:53):
We are so lucky to have you on Unpacking the Toolbox,
and the Gladiators were so lucky that you were Thornton.
Because the second season is really when the show took
off and when the ratings came and Scandal became what
it is, and I am convinced wholeheartedly that is so
much in part because of you and your performance and

(39:14):
your portrail.

Speaker 3 (39:16):
Thank you.

Speaker 1 (39:17):
I'm obsessed with you.

Speaker 2 (39:18):
Well, come on over, have some brunch, right, I would
love that Deborah Mooney brunch.

Speaker 1 (39:23):
But wait, bring the champagne.

Speaker 2 (39:24):
But also gladiators. I just want to let you know
real quick. Next up, episode two fourteen, which is called
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. We don't remember what it's about, but
don't worry. We'll be watching it to make sure we
do remember and can talk to you all about all
the behind the scenes goings on. Thank you for listening,
and one more massive, massive round of applause for the

(39:46):
one and only Deborah Mooneyah, gentlemen, the greatest of the great.

Speaker 3 (39:51):
Thank you.

Speaker 1 (39:53):
Thank you guys for joining us on Unpacking the Toolbox.
If you enjoyed the show, please subscribe, share with your friends, rate,
or leave us a review.

Speaker 2 (40:01):
Scandal is executive produced by Sandy Bailey, alex Alcea, Lauren Homan,
Tyler Klang, and Gabrielle Collins. Our producer and editor is
Vince de Johnny, with music by Chad Fisher.

Speaker 1 (40:12):
Scandal is a production of ABC Signature, and you can
follow along by rewatching Scandal on Hulu.

Speaker 2 (40:18):
Unpacking the Toolbox is a production of Shondaland Audio in
partnership with iHeartRadio. For more podcasts from Shondaland Audio, visit
the iHeartRadio app or anywhere you subscribe to your favorite shows.
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